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PETER BOESMAN 2006. Birds of Brazil, Birds of Mexico and Birds of Venezuela.

PETER BOESMAN 2006. Birds of Brazil, Birds of Mexico
and Birds of Venezuela. MP3 sound collections (1.0)., Hoofdstraat W14, 9951 AB Winsum,
Netherlands; e-mail, website www. Box with CD and 16-20 pp booklet each.
EUR 49.96 each.

DB 28 (4) 2006


Since 1988, Peter Boesman from Merelbeke, Belgium,
made c 15 000 sound recordings in the Neotropics. In
1999, he produced a revolutionary CD-ROM with
sounds and photographs on the birds of Venezuela,
where he lived for seven years (see Dutch Birding 21:
222-223, 1999). Aiming for a versatile product easy to
use in the field but still offering additional features when
at home, he grasped the opportunity when MP3 players
became the standard portable music machine. He now
offers a wealth of bird sounds in three MP3 publications
distributed by Remarkably, the Birds of
CD (product code MP01) contains no less than
2050 recordings of 1000 species in 10 hours playing
time, the Birds of Mexico CD (code MP02) 725 recordings
of 650 species in six hours, and the Birds of
CD (code MP01) 1050 recordings of 950 species
in eight hours. To get so much information on a
single CD is excellent news for field work. The CDs can
be used on a MP3 compatible CD player; on a MP3
player (any type, including iPod, by copying the files
into the player); on a PC with a standard file browser
(Explorer in Windows); or on a PC with music software
(like iTunes, which offers search features and shows the
information embedded in the MP3 files). The booklets
have been kept as simple and austere as possible, both
in design and layout as in contents. In the first three
pages, there is an explanation on how each CD can be
used. Furthermore, each booklet also has a few personal
lines under acknowledgements. For instance, it appears
that, although nearly all recordings were made by Peter,
he was also allowed to use the Venezuela recordings of
the late Paul Schwartz, the renowned pioneer in
Neotropical bird sound recording. The recordings in
Brazil and Mexico were made after 1995, when Peter
suffered a nearly fatal Bushmaster snake bite that costed
him a leg, which brings to light not only his perseverance
but also the accessibility of many excellent nature
sites in both countries. The remaining 13-16 pages of the
booklets are filled with information on each track, presenting
the English and scientific species name, usually
three geographic names, the coordinates, a date, and the
recordist's name. The quality of the recordings was subordinate
to Peter's efforts to present a complete species
selection. It means that filtering was kept at a minimum
and that, for a few species listed within brackets, poor
recordings were used. Unfortunately, no information is
added on the behavioural context of each sound, the
time of day or, if known, age and sex of the bird. As in
Europe, most Neotropical species have a wide range of
song variations and call types, and publications like
these may give the wrong message as if there is only one
song or call per species. Nevertheless, these MP3 sound
collections will be very popular and useful to anyone
who pays a birding visit to these countries. We have to
be grateful for Peter's achievements and his efforts to
make these sounds available. ARNOUD B VAN DEN BERG

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